So, That’s Another Two Careers off the ‘Potentials’ List….

I fear that I may have turned into one of ‘those’ people.  You know, one of The Boy’s type of people.  Walkers.  I needed to pop into town yesterday (for various beautifying bits and pieces – don’t tell anyone that I’m still spending money on these things.  Especially not Jiminy – remember her?  She’s my work colleague who acts as my conscience, as I clearly don’t have one), and after much thought, I decided to park in the carpark furthest away from town (ok, so it’s not quite on a par with ‘let’s just march for the next 7 miles, then take it easy for the last 14, but considering I used to whinge at Uni if I had to walk to the shop 2 seconds down our very road, just to pick up some chocolate buttons, this is progress).  Except that my cunning plan didn’t work, as the carpark was full (well, it wasn’t, the free spaces were.  But the local council’s ridiculous idea to charge for parking is a rant for another day).  So I had to drive around for 10 minutes, finding somewhere far enough out for me to walk in.  I’ll be honest, it wasn’t exactly my best effort at reducing my personal carbon footprint.  But I did manage to walk into town (with a full bag of library books, might I add), so my smug face was firmly in place for at least…oh, 12 minutes.

*On a totally unrelated tangeant, I just tried to serenade The Boy with my own, adapted version of ‘She’s So Lovely’, changing the words to ‘He’s So Lovely’.  Sadly, I can’t sing, so I don’t think it was as endearing as I’d originally hoped.*

Where was I?  Oh yes, my smug face.  Well, as well as walking into town (from a residential street at least 4 minutes from the town centre no less, and a full 6 and a half minutes from the library), I also made my bed yesterday.  Yes, made made.  As in put up (I realised that it sounded like I was boasting about being able to change a pillowcase when I was talking to Lovely Mum yesterday and she looked a bit confused).  But I feel that I’ve left a suitable amount of time between Darling Sister moving out and my moving into her old room (when we ALL know, that if I’d had the choice, she would barely have left the driveway after a heartfelt and tearful goodbye before I was measuring her alcove and working out if that Ikea dressing table would fit in the gap where her ottoman used to be), and, as luck would have it, The Boy was in LA this week (he has the best job in the world.  Except for, you know, Kate Middleton), so there was plenty of time for me to move things.  Except, and I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this, but making stuff is HARD.  You have to insert Screw C into Slot B, then attach Bolt G and use wrenches and Hex Keys and things (side note – I’m fairly certain that Hex Keys are, in fact, Allen/Allan/Alan Keys, but with a fancy alternative name).  And it hurt my fingers.  So I had a little rest.  An hour and a half later when I woke up, with my things still very much not moved, my smug look slid off my face.  On the plus side, half of my stuff is now in my new room, the matress is on my new bed, and I slept on it last night without it collapsing through the floor – hurrah!  And Ruby (my diva cat, who thinks that my room is actually her room, and she just lets me stay) has already found herself a spot, curled up at the bottom of the curtains.  So everyone’s happy.  And I have a new thing to spend money on – bedroom furniture, hurrah!  I wonder if I can convince The Boy to fund some of the purchases, as they’ll probably be moving with us when we get a house?  No, you’re right, it’s unlikely.

The other exciting thing that I did this weekend was driving all the way to Heathrow (Terminal 3, in case you were interested), to collect The Boy. All by my very self.  I managed to get all the way there without a problem, then got myself in a muddle in the carpark.  Amazing. People will park literally anywhere, expecting you to change the entire configuration of your car in order to get past (whilst I can twist myself into awkward positions to move around people, Sally is peculiarly unwilling to bend at the middle, just because some impatient so and so has decided to park in the middle of the through lane).  Then, some delightful soul (whom I heartily hope suffers a 10 hour delay, and then turbulence and an uncomfortable seat) left their trolley on a slope.  So it did what all wheeled things will do down a slope.  It slid.  Straight into the side of my car.  Luckily, I was driving, and only got a glancing blow, but I was still heartily hacked off.  Whilst waiting for The Boy to emerge from Arrivals (which, I was certain at one point, was going to be on Tuesday, they kept putting the expected arrival time back so much), a man who was standing right next to me (I really can’t stress how close he was standing to me – if I’m honest, he was invading my personal space a bit) turned to who I assume is his wife, and said ‘Wow, she’s even shorter than you!’.  I was tempted to pinch him (I was that close) but instead, maintained a dignified silence.  And bitched about him on Facebook.  After what seemed like a million years, The Boy’s plane landed, and we got lost on the way out.  I don’t want to say that it was his fault (because it wasn’t – I was the one who forgot which floor I’d parked my car on), but, you know, I’d gotten all the way there by myself with no problems…but he’s home now, and I can do my special Happy Dance (not when he’s looking though, that would be even worse than my singing). 

The Happy Dance will also be employed at intervals throughout the week, as I have only 5 days to go until I can shop for pretty clothes again!  And I have seen so very many, that it’s likely I’ll max out my credit and store cards, and the last 6 months will have been a waste of time.  Or, you never know – I might have learned something.  So, in honour of this being my last week of a recessionista (actually, that’s totally the wrong word.  It doesn’t even mean what I meant.  Let’s start again…) 

To commemorate the last week of my spending ban, I will be writing 1 blog post each and every single day.  To paraphrase (actually, to just repeat word for word) Tyres from ‘Spaced’ – You lucky, lucky people.  (Just for God’s sake don’t ask me to do the accent.  It will end in tears.  Mine of shame, yours from scornful laughter.) (If you don’t know who or what I’m talking about, Google it.  He’s brilliant.)

Oh, and the 2 careers in the title?  Chauffeur, and Furniture Maker/Putter Upper.  Or, ‘Carpenter’ if you will.

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I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s certainly not right.

This weekend, The Boy reached the grand old age of 26, and to commemorate the occasion, I decided to have the red/black/general emo colour taken out of my hair, and have it returned to some semblance of a normal hue (actually, that’s a total lie – it’s just a coincidence that both things happened this weekend, but I really want to tell the story about having my hair done).

I decided to take Friday afternoon off work (after asking permission from various manager types.  Well, just the one manager type.  Mine), as getting the colour stripped out of your hair, especially when it’s as thick as mine is, takes a LONG time.  I also wanted to get some bits for The Boy’s birthday (as I spent pretty much all of last weekend with him, I hadn’t quite managed to finish my present purchasing, and work did insist on getting in the way this week), which I did quickly and easily.  You know something’s going to go wrong when the first part of your afternoon seemingly goes a bit too well…and you see 3 separate single magpies on your travels (those little buggers followed me everywhere).

So, I have some hair extensions that have been taking up valuable space under my desk for quite some time, and I thought that it would be nice if I could wear them on a night out the day after my birthday – I took those with me to the hairdressers, so that I could see if it was possible to have my hair dyed to match (yes, I know, people usually do it the other way around, but it’s always nice to be different).  Unfortunately, it transpires that when you’ve dyed your hair red, and your hair already has quite a bit of warmth in it, it’s probably not going to go a cool ash brown.  And very unfortunately, this wasn’t mentioned until around 4 hours after I’d walked into the salon (and it probably would have saved us all some time, and me some money, if it had been).

So, my hair was bleached, and lightened, and I was warned that my hair would look very, very orange.  Which it did (although it still wasn’t as bad as the time I dyed my hair red at Uni, and couldn’t afford to redo it, so by the time I came home for the Christmas holidays, Darling Sister took one look at me, chained me to a kitchen chair and raced to Boots as fast as she could, returning laden down with Garnier Nutrisse, conditioner and scissors).  Then a new dye was put on, many murmuring noises were made about how nice the hair was looking, and how it had taken really well, and a sense of hope and security stole over me.  Oh, what a mistake.  As my hair was being dried, it became clear that, if my hair hadn’t turned ginger, it certainly embodied one of ginger’s close relations – strawberry blonde, or flame orange perhaps.  Now, I’ve been going to the same hairdresser on and off for the last 8 years, they’re brilliant usually, and it had taken them over 4 hours to do this to my hair.  So I did what anyone would do – smiled sweetly at the mirror, made pleased, murmuring noises, and gave a nice tip.  And then cried all the way home.

That’s not to say that I don’t like ginger hair (some of my best friends are ginger).  It’s just that there is no way that I would have willingly paid £80 for it.  The particular shade that I was sporting as I left the salon was one that only Karen Gillan could pull off.  And (to paraphrase Chandler from Friends) I’ve met me, and I’m no Karen Gillan.  Every time I looked in the mirror on Friday, I wanted to cry.  Then The Boy had some bad news (his car is…well, I don’t want to go into it.  She’s been badly beaten up – luckily, he wasn’t driving, or indeed, in the car, at the time), and instead of being supportive and offering to go and kick people, all I could do was whinge about my hair.  (In my defence, each time I inadvertently caught sight of my reflection, I thought that my head was on fire.) 

After begging him to stop mentioning it, The Boy and I got through Friday night relatively easily.  It was his birthday on Saturday, and to make up for being a Bad Girlfriend, who is more interested in her hair than anything else (we can add shallow to my list of irritating personality traits), I took him to the Doctor Who Experience as part of his birthday present (I don’t want to ruin the surprise in case you decide to go, but there’s an interactive bit, where you act like the Doctor’s companion.  He refers to you as a ‘human sub-species – the shopper’.  See – this is why Matt Smith should marry me, he already knows me so well.  Moving on…), and the museum part of the exhibition has lots of clips of the show playing.  Apparently, the bit where David Tennant regenarates into Matt Smith and says the line ‘still not ginger’ was repeating on a loop, and did so about 6 times as we were standing near it, with The Boy praying that I wouldn’t overhear.  Luckily for him, by the time we’d got back out into the sunshine and he felt ready to mention it, I could see the funny side.  Ish.  Then a lady walked past me on the way back to the Tube, and was looking at me as if she knew me, and was going to say hello.  If this was you, I’m very sorry, but I don’t think that I know you.  At all. 

Darling Sister, The Boy, Lovely Mum and Lovely Stepdad kept telling me how much they loved my hair, although Darling Sister did admit that it wasn’t even, and had lots of different patches (I AM the girl that McFly sang about – I used to think that having 5 colours in your hair was cool.  It is not).  The Boy kept telling me that it was a cool colour.  I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ll be 26 in 2 weeks – I don’t want a cool hair colour, I want to look normal.  Darling Sister told me that it looks like Amy Childs’ (from The Only Way is Essex, if you were wondering) does when it’s fading.  Again, this is not the look that I was going for.

So, I bought an ash brown hair dye today.  And it’s turned my hair pretty much the colour it was on Friday morning.  Before I spent £80 that could have gone on shoes.  If you’re a teenager reading this, and you’re really, really hacked off because your parents won’t let you dye your hair, believe me, it’s for the best.  I’ve used up pretty much all of my whining priviledges for the next year, just on this one weekend.  Bad times. 

But I think that The Boy had a good birthday.  Mainly because it was the finale of Doctor Who last night.  For those of you who’ve seen it, who saw that coming?!  Well, The Boy did.  But still, isn’t Stephen Moffat good?  I want to be a writer on Doctor Who when I grow up…

Courier Condundrum…

Indulging in some weekend television, I decided to watch ‘Nine Months’ this afternoon.  An advert popped up (they tend to fairly regularly) about short term loans.  This one was implying that it was better than the others, as you can take 6 months to pay the loan back, which is nice.  Except that, when you read the bottom of the screen (yep, I’m one of THOSE people), the APR is over 3000%.  Yes, that’s right, OVER 3000%!  Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is totally ridiculous.  The smallest amount that you can borrow is £80.00, and if you took the 6 month option, that could cost you £1280 (I think.  I’m not that great at maths.  Even if that’s only close to being right, that is shagging well ridiculous!), and that is why loan companies are evil.

But I’ve already done a blog about the ridiculousness of store cards, so there’s really no need for me to rant all over again.  (Believe me, I need no encouragement to behave like a broken record and complain about the same things over and over again.  Just ask my Lovely Friends, to whom I still whinge about various injustices that happened at around the same time as our GCSEs.  Ten years ago.) (Ooo, I’ve just made myself go a bit funny.  Was that really ten years ago?  I’m still trying to decide what to do when I finish school.  Which may explain my career path…)

So, clothes ban wise, it’s not been a bad week.  As Darling Sister’s birthday is the day before mine (I know, not great timing on my parent’s behalf, it makes for a rather expensive week), I’ve been looking at birthday presents for her.  Even though she’s picked up the keys for her very first flat this week, and would probably prefer gifts such as kettles, toilet brushes or duvet covers, I think it’s safe to say that at least one of her presents will be clothing related.  Because it cuts down on the guilt – I’ve spent many happy hours this week perusing various online retailers, finding some lovely things (and even Lovely Mum pointing out in gentle tones ‘buying that in your size isn’t really going to impress Darling Sister is it’, (she’s 7 inches taller and several dress sizes smaller than me.  And thinks nothing of voicing her disgust if people buy her things in a size 12, until she sees me giving her a ridiculously Mean Stare, and then backtracks furiously. It makes me chuckle every time.) and ‘is that really something that she’d like?  Really?!’ haven’t put me off.  Although my experience with a ridiculously inept courier company nearly did put me off buying anything.  Ever.  (Maybe I should buy things from companies that I know use awful couriers, so that it puts me off shopping forever?  It’s a thought…)

Anyway, back to reminiscing – I’d found something that I thought Darling Sister would really like (even though it wasn’t cushion related).  So I ordered it, cunningly asking for it to be delivered on a day that she was working.  Except that it never turned up.  I spoke to the couriers (whose name I won’t reveal.  Although I don’t know why I’m bothering, they were so ridiculously rubbish that they deserve to be shamed) who said that the driver had run out of time (poor planning in my opinion, he should have used his accelarator more, and his brakes less) and asked them whether I could collect the…ahem…item from the depot, as Darling Sister was on a night flight, and would have brutally beaten me had she been woken up to answer the door (also, it’s her present.  I don’t really want her to see where it’s from).  They agreed that this was absolutely fine, so I prepared to beg my (very understanding and nice) manager to let me take a slightly longer lunch, in order to get to the depot, several million miles away (ok, half an hour away).  Then, I decided to double check that I could collect the item without a card.  Apparently not – even though I’m willing to bet that the driver didn’t even make it to my village, never mind my road, he’d put in the notes that he’d left a card.  I don’t wish to cast aspersions on his character, but he’s a liar.  Anyway, after repeating this argument several times, it became clear that I was getting nowhere, and not only could I not collect the parcel, but after the nice man on the phone had confirmed that there were notes on the system stating that the order should not be sent out for delivery on that day, he reliably informed me that it had been sent anyway.  So I asked whether I could have the parcel delivered to my work address.  No, apparently,  Then I asked that the driver be contacted and told not to deliver the parcel, he ummed, ahhed and muttered, then said that the systems were down, so he’d have to call the driver.  As if this was a ridiculously unreasonable thing for me to ask him to do.  So I asked him again. 

Eventually, before I took my phone, put it on my passenger seat, drove to the depot and battered him with it, I said goodbye and spoke to the company directly.  They were brilliant, helpful and arranged for the parcel to be delivered to work the following day.  It was there when I arrived at work, and the girls were all very excited.  We opened the package up, and Darling Sister is going to hate it.  So now I have to return it.  Unless I can get down to a size 8 in the next 5 weeks.  That’s fairly unlikely, and would probably count as cheating on the shopping ban.  I’m thrilled, as you can imagine, and Ireally, really hope that UKMail have absolutely nothing to do with the returns process.  Oops, I may have just given away the name of the rubbishly rubbish courier.  I feel bad about it.

And you’re sure that Lady Gaga buys her underwear from La Senza?

Sooo, this week one of my oldest chums (I mean this in the sense that I’ve known her for about 20 years, not that she’s old.  Although she is 6 whole weeks older than me) celebrated her 26th birthday.  With a Lady Gaga themed birthday party.  Which meant that her house was liberally decorated with posters, we played Gaga tunes, and such.  Oh, and everyone had to dress up.  My friend, who I will simply refer to as Legs (because her pins go on for, literally, miles) had no problem costume wise.  Nor did her (similarly proportioned) cousins, or our other, teeny-tiny, friends.  As a slightly larger girl (size 12/14, in case you were wondering), I didn’t relish the prospect of working out an outfit (seriously, how many people do you know that look good wrapped in hazard tape?), then it dawned on me that I can’t buy clothes.  And apparently, after a quick poll of the (mean) girls in the office/The Boy/Darling Sister, I discovered that fancy dress outfits come under the heading ‘clothes’.  Quick side note – do wigs count?  They thought yes, but I’m unsure.  For the rest of this experiment, I would like to be able to buy a wig, should I decide that one is necessary – all the other girls had them last night, and I felt that I was letting the side down.  Because I was letting the side down.

Rummaging through my wardrobe, it became clear that I have nothing that resembles a leotard (except for a swimming costume, and…just no.), or one of the crazy get ups that the Gaga has become known for.  So, I borrowed The Boy’s laptop, and googled ‘Lady Gaga outfits’, and there she was, resplendent in a fetching bra and pencil skirt number, with ridiculous shoes and ‘cupid bow’ lipstick (like Geisha girls’ lipstick).  In all the excitement at finding an outfit that I could actually put together from the random bits and pieces lurking in my room, I forgot that I was essentially going out in my bra.  Less Agent Provocateur, more La Senza (or, if I’m honest, Primark).  I asked my Lovely Mum for advice, and her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when I showed her the outfit.  I assured her that I was going to be staying in Legs’ house for the whole evening, and that I was going to beg to be allowed to put a top on at the earliest opportunity.  So I moved onto my lipstick, which took 5 attempts and looked ridiculous (plus, I did it before Burlesque, so I creeped out Lola on top of everything else – every time she turned round, she saw my lips.  And they looked ruddy strange). 

So, after my Burlesque lesson (this week we experimented with hats – amazing), I popped over to Legs’ house, and ran to the bathroom to get changed.  On the way, I just had time to glance at the other Gaga outfits, and to feel completely inadequate.  And fat.  Anyhoo, I was getting changed, and overheard 2 Gagas talking about going into town.  I’m sorry, TOWN?!  Dressed like this?!  I contemplated staying in the bathroom until everyone had left and I could sneak back to the car under the cover of darkness, but I could hear a queue forming, with comments such as ‘I have to get in there soon, as it’s going to take at least half an hour for me to find my pants.’  (*Disclaimer – I don’t think that this phrase was actually uttered, I’m paraphrasing/making things up.)

I walked out of the bathroom to a massive cheer.  Which was nice.  And possibly due to people’s bursting bladders, as much as them being pleased to see me.  Lots of photo taking ensued, with me trying to hide in the background and give Poker Face Gaga more photo opportunities, but I kept getting dragged to the front, which I’m not sure the millions of Facebook users will thank my friends for (especially when you see Poker Face Gaga.  She looked HOT).

There are also many photos of me teaching Legs some Burlesque moves.  And of her teaching me some MC Hammer moves.  It was a truly special moment, which I am THRILLED has been caught on camera for all eternity.  Honestly, thrilled.

Eventually we made it out of the house, with much giggling and such.  Once we got to town, I got out of the car and put my sunglasses on, to give my outfit more of a Gagaesque feel (I was really feeling the lack of wig), and promptly fell over.  Some would say that I should have seen that coming, what with it being 11 at night and already pitch black…I’d also managed to sneak a vest top on over my bra at this point (did I mention that I was completely, 100% sober?  Because of my diet, I can’t drink.  The idea of going into town in just my bra would probably have seemed more appealing had I swallowed half a litre of vodka, but as it was, I had visions of the bouncers taking one look at me, crying at me to go home and then running for the hills, being found months later, rocking, gibbering wrecks.  So I took advantage of the darkness/everyone else’s tipsiness, told them that I was going to move some stuff from my car’s backseat to the boot, and rummaged around for any sort of top.  Sometimes it pays to have an extended wardrobe in the car.  Not all the time, but sometimes.), and strutted to the bar with the other girls.  We were there for approximately 4 seconds before I heard the first bitchy comment about our group.  I don’t want to say that the girl was jealous, but with the exception of my good self, the girls looked stunning, and I would like to look like them all when I grow up (or, more accurately, shrink down), and, you know, she had a funny face.  (Actually, she didn’t, but she started it.)

It was a brilliant night, marred only by the fact that I lost feeling in my feet about 16 minutes into our trip to town.  And the other girls all smoked, so I spent a lot of time with Darling Sister (who was out with one of her chums), who were not dressed up.  So I looked like a fool.

In conclusion, fancy dress parties should never be attended unless you can purchase your outfit in advance.  And Lady Gaga fancy dress parties should never be attended unless you’re a size 8/10.  At least the Birthday Girl had a good night, and the photos aren’t up on the internet…oh.  Bother.  Well, at least the Birthday Girl had a good night.